Tara O’Connell is a former Kurri Kurri High School student and now mother of two who has been named among Australia’s best entrepreneurs.
Ms O’Connell, 42, now of Newcastle, created The Baby Diaries app, a simple, easy-to-use baby routine and milestone tracker for mothers to keep track of baby’s sleep, feed, change times and achievements.
Her creation has been judged by a panel of Australia’s business leaders as one of Australia’s top 10 emerging entrepreneurs.
The app is available in 15 languages and has been downloaded by users in India, South America, Russia and Ukraine, and was listed among the top 10 must-have apps for new parents in 2013.
“It was my second son Alexander, now two, who was the inspiration for the app,” she said.
“I became a sole parent when he was 11 weeks old.
“He was sick and had to go to hospital when he was four months old.
“At that time I remember being so sleep deprived my brain was not working.
“The nurses were asking me all sorts of questions, basic things about feeding, nappies and sleeping.
“I had no idea what to tell them.”
Ms O’Connell’s sister, who is a midwife, suggested the need to record a baby’s daily progress.
“Instead of writing it all down on paper, why not devise an app,” she said.
“I spent a few months researching the concept.
There were some expensive American versions available which left a gap here.
“I saw the opportunity to fill the gap.”
For the first six months the app moved slowly, but a free version was offered and there were 3000 downloads in one week.
A premium version is now available for mothers who have gone back to work and placed a child into care.
“Data is shared between the mother and the carer throughout the day with the use of the app on iPhone, iPad or iPod.
“It is about continuity of care for the child.
“For a lot of mothers, returning to work can be a distressing time, but recording information about the child’s progress each day can ease the stress.
“Not receiving all the information [from a carer] is often a bugbear for mums.
“For example, mums want to know if their child had a sleep that day or, for a toddler, they want to know progress with toilet training.”
Ms O’Connell was thrilled to be nominated for the award.
“Success for me is something I define as making a difference,” she said.
“This app has been downloaded on every continent on Earth.
“It has made a difference to mums all over the world.
“It helps them get through what can be a stressful time.
“This nomination is an accolade for me.”
The winners of the 2014 AusMumpreneur Awards will be announced in Melbourne on October 11.